How to start up your Mac in single-user or verbose mode

If you're a software developer or IT professional, using single-user mode or verbose mode can help you isolate issues related to startup.

Start up in single-user mode or verbose mode

Use these steps to start up your Mac in single-user mode or verbose mode:

  1. Shut down your Mac.
  2. Press the power button to start up your Mac.
  3. Immediately hold down the following keys:
  • Hold down Command-S for single-user mode.
  • Hold down Command-V for verbose mode.

You've successfully entered single-user mode or verbose mode when you see white text appear on the screen.

If you can't enter single-user mode or verbose mode

If your Mac doesn't progress beyond verbose mode, and doesn't show any messages, press the power button until the computer shuts down. 

  • Your Mac can't start up in single-user or verbose mode if the computer owner or administrator has set a firmware password.
  • If FileVault is enabled, you need to unlock the startup disk as part of this process. White text appears briefly before the FileVault login screen is shown. After selecting a user and entering the user’s password, the single-user mode or verbose mode startup process continues.

To leave single-user mode or verbose mode

To exit single-user mode type reboot then press Return. When in single-user mode, the keyboard layout is US English.

Verbose mode causes text to display during startup and shutdown. The next time you restart your Mac, Verbose mode is no longer enabled.

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